Han W. Wopreis
At the Robotics and Mechatronics group we conduct research to extend the usability of drones. We want to extend the drones' capabilities to use them in interaction with the environment, rather than applying drones for inspection purposes only. This is highly interesting as there are many maintenance tasks that need to be performed at dangerous locations - tasks that are now performed by (risk-taking) humans. With the results of our research we aim to reduce the need for these humans to take these risks.
With the drone that is illustrated in the picture we aim to clean or grind surfaces of interest, to verify whether apparent damage is truly damage or just dirt. However, having a drone interact with the environment provides several challenges and there is a significant possibility that the drone collides with the environment. This is where the Smart XP comes to the rescue, as it provides a solid protection against the drone that may become unstable and possible debris flying around during collision.
Besides the protection, the Smart XP also provides a Motion Capture System, which allows us to get absolute measurements of the position of our system, such that we can test our research under optimal conditions, before taking them into "the wild".
To celebrate the release of the newest Star Wars trilogy, S.A. Proto organised a special event where participants could build their own DIY lightsaber with the use of technology. A combination of LED strips, a small Arduino and some pipes quickly turned into a lightsaber with guidance of professor Edwin Dertien. With the help of V.A.S. Arashi, the students also learned to fight with their lightsaber. The unique type of workshop, the timing of the event and the imagery of students with lightsabers even interested the media. SBS 6 and RTL Bight covered the unique event in detail.